First Mother-and-Baby Friendly Hospital in the Pacific
HONIARA, 30 April 2012 – The Ministry of Health and Medical Services and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today declared the National Referral Hospital in Honiara, Solomon Islands “Mother-and-Baby Friendly”. It is the first hospital in the Pacific to meet expanded standards for both mother and baby friendliness. Previous accreditations were limited to “baby-friendly” standards.
“By doing this we’re more likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4 - reducing child deaths) as we have noticed that most of the deaths occur in the early months of life,” he added.
In thanking the hospital staff, the Honiara City Council Health Services and UNICEF, Dr. Alependava said that these collaborative “efforts to make the initiative a success shows that commitment, partnership and teamwork can achieve a lot for our health programmes.”
UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr Isyie Ndombi and Acting Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health Services, Dr Cedric Alependava. Unveil the Baby Friendly Hospital Plaque. Picture: Shakila Naidu, Winston Pitakomoki
Further to the certification of Taro, Gizo and Munda Hospitals in achieving Baby-Friendly status in 2010, the UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) Mother- and Baby Friendly-Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) has rolled out the initiative to the remaining seven hospitals in the Solomon Islands.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, launched in 1991, is an effort by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure that all maternity facilities, become centers of breastfeeding support.
WHO and UNICEF expanded the criteria in 2009 to include nine steps that require a maternity unit to achieve mother-friendly labour and birthing practices and procedures. A maternity facility or hospital is designated 'Mother and Baby-friendly' when it does not accept free or low-cost breast milk substitutes, feeding bottles or teats, and has implemented 10 specific steps to support successful breastfeeding and safe birthing practices.
UNICEF Representative, Dr. Ndombi encouraged the Ministry that to protect breastfeeding, the government needs to maintain strong legislation against breast milk substitutes.
The certifications and awards were presented at an official ceremony by the Chief Executive Officer Dr. George Mainimu and the UNICEF Pacific Representative, Dr. Ndombi.
For more information, please contact Communications Specialist- External Relations, Donna Hoerder, UNICEF on (679) 3236 100 or (679) 9265 518